Many of us probably remember when, as children, we believed monsters were lurking in the darkness of our closet, or lay hidden under our bed, patiently waiting to seize us as soon as our parents left the room. Although we were told they weren’t real, in our minds we could picture them clearly: huge and threatening, their eager, yellow, slimy fangs glimmering in the shadows, ready to swallow us in one single bite.
As adults we still fear the monsters lurking in the unknown and the forgotten, and often picture them much mightier than they really are. The monsters we fear as adults lurk behind the curtains of important decisions, or in the chambers of the mind, we have chosen to lock away after being emotionally wounded. The two are quite different from one another.
The monsters we fear when we find ourselves at an important crossroad in our lives are birthed by the apprehension we feel when facing uncertainty. Most of us experience anxiety when not sure of what will unfold; we tend to expect the worst as a defense mechanism; by doing so, we are already braced for disaster before taking the turn and don’t feel as concerned with being attacked by unforeseen events. In the majority of cases, the apprehension we feel is unfounded and mostly feeds on insecurities. In some situation, we feel as if we are facing a daunting task, which will drain us of vital energy; once we get started with the project—and get swept into the flow of things—the work gets done and we realize it wasn’t too bad after all.
The other type of monsters we need to face, at times, are the ones we have kept locked away in the attic of our mind, those which caused us great pain in the past and we tried to forget about, the very same ones which haunt our dreams and taint our daily life. This kind of monster is the scariest to face. After being locked away for so long, we have forgotten what it truly looks like, and our imagination paints it much bigger and much more threatening. Truth is, after being locked away for several years, the monster has weakened, and the emotional charge, which we attached to it when it was free and able to harm us, has depleted with time. After so much time away from it, we have also become stronger and more able to defeat it, so we no longer need to fear it as the mighty giant it used to be.
Once exposed to the light of a conscious confrontation, it will likely appear for what it truly is: an old, residual fragment of the original monster, void of energy and greatly undernourished because of the new choices we have made for ourselves. By keeping it tucked away, we have assumed that its power would never lessen, and have saved it in our mind’s eye as being as big as it was when we locked it away. We have chosen to keep it alive out of sheer fear, and fed it on occasion with our anxiety and doubts.
At some point, it is time for the monsters to be slain. It is time to bring them out and face them in the light of day; only then we will see that the fear of the monster is much larger than the monster itself.